NAR Applauds White House’s Move to Finalize NEPA Reforms

July 17, 2020

For the first time in more than 40 years, the National Environmental Policy Act will be updated and modernized—a win for real estate, the National Association of REALTORS® says. That action aims to accelerate environmental reviews under NEPA and ensure U.S. infrastructure projects are completed more efficiently and affordably.

President Donald Trump and the Council on Environmental Quality announced a final rule this week to comprehensively update and modernize NEPA. NEPA regulations oversee how the federal government issues environmental permits. The laws have often been blamed for blocking and delaying infrastructure projects. The hope is that the new regulations will help simplify and accelerate the environmental review process for numerous projects, including the nation’s roads and bridges.

“While uncertainty will continue to define the coming months, any action policymakers can take to inject some stability and confidence into our markets is welcomed with open arms by America’s 1.4 million REALTORS®,” says Vince Malta, NAR’s president. “Since NEPA was last updated four decades ago, the real estate industry has seen countless infrastructure modernization projects paralyzed by arbitrary delays and unreasonable cost increases, barriers which today are felt more heavily because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we push to safely and sensibly reopen our nation, NAR applauds the White House’s continued efforts to balance much-needed environmental protections with economic development in America.”

Also, on Thursday, NAR commended the Trump administration for its commitment to other deregulation reforms, including its work to eliminate barriers to affordable housing.

“With our nation’s economy absorbing a shock unlike any felt in nearly a century … REALTORS® applaud a comprehensive review of all federal regulations that could further inhibit job creation and prosperity,” Malta says. “In addition, as housing affordability continues to plague U.S. markets in spite of economic turmoil, NAR remains supportive of reforms that will eliminate unnecessary regulations, ease inventory constraints and help more people achieve the American dream of homeownership.”

At a Thursday press conference, the White House reported that 16 pieces of deregulation legislation would soon be signed by President Trump. The White House says that the deregulation legislation would result in an increase in annual real incomes by more than $40 billion and save American households an estimated $3,100 each year.